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South Sudan authorities arrest The Citizen editor

October 11, 2008 (JUBA) – The Editor of the daily newspaper The Citizen said he was detained by southern Sudanese authorities for publishing an article critical of high salaries practices in GoSS legal affairs.

Nhial Bol who is arrested since yesterday said by telephone from jail that he is accused of defamation and false information. However, he contests the case saying they have to act against the Citizen not against him personally."

"This should be a civil case, but I have been told I will be held for three days without bail," he said. "In Khartoum there is dictatorship and in Juba corruption is spreading like wildfire," he further said.

Nhial Bol said he was certain f the accuracy of the story and if they want to challenge it the best place should be the tribunal not prison.

The Citizen had been for two months banned by the Sudanese authorities. Despite the fact that press freedom was considered as major achievement of the north – south peace deal in 2005 it remains a very relative matter and depends on political circumstances.

Although, it has since been allowed to continue printing in the Sudanese capital.

The National Press Council, spoke about administrative measures to explain the ban, but Bol said at the time, that security services told him to relieve a Darfuri from his editing position but he had refused. The journalist was considered as hostile to President Al-Bashir.

Minister of Legal Affairs and Constitutional Development in the Government of Southern Sudan, Michael Makuei, on August 22 said that the salaries, in his ministry, are in line with the budget.

However, GoSS, in a cabinet meeting passed a resolution to calling for quick harmonization of irregular salary structures in the different government institutions on August 29.

(ST)